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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The genealogical connection that London so clearly draws between the Fire People and modern humans in Before Adam suggests the centrality of technology—most basically, the transformation of natural resources into tools and crafts—to his vision of human evolution and species dominance. Indeed, we can follow London’s technological focus from the prehistoric world of Before Adam to the author’s Klondike stories set in the primitive wild to urban dramas like The People of The Abyss (1903) and The Iron Heel (1908), which take as their environment the modern industrial metropolis. Tracking the movement of technology throughout these works illuminates London’s sense of the evolutionary trajectories possible for his own turn-of-the-century historical moment, the “machine age,” as he sometimes called it.

Keywords: technology, primitive, modernism, evolution, Darwin, machine age

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